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Indian Philatelic Fraternity lost 3 eminent philatelists.

Dr. D. J. Banerjee, Kolkata
Dr. D. J. Banerjee a veteran Airmail Philatelist passed away on 4th April 2015. He was ailing due to paralytic stroke 4 years back. He used to contribute articles regularly in the popular Bengali magazine 'ANANDA MELA' mainly for the young and budding stamp collectors, besides in many other magazines of international repute on his specialized subject, i.e. "Aero-philately".

Shri T. N. Prahlad Rao, Bangalore
Shri T. N. Prahlad Rao, veteran philatelist of Bangalore passed away on18th April 2015. He was a noted Olympic philatelist and active member of Karnataka Philatelic Society. He had won many awards for his collection on Olympic Games.

Shri B. B. Shahi, Varanasi
Shri Batuk Bhairo Shahi, popularly known as B. B. Shahi, doyen of Indian Philately and an expert of 1854 Lithograph stamps of India and classic period passed away on 22nd April 2015. At the age of 90 he was still dreaming of philately. Indian Philatelists’ Forum and Indian Philately Digest conveys heartfelt condolences to the bereaved family and pray the almighty God to give their family members all the strength to bear the blow and may their departed soul rest in peace.

Special Cover on AL Jerry Braganza, father of Konkani Cinema – 24th April 2015.

Anthonio Lawrence Jerry Braganza, the father of Konkani Cinema was born in Mapusa, Goa, who later on changed his name Antonio Lawrence… to AL Jerry Braganza. He migrated to Bombay around 1940s where he joined college. He was the first to produce Konkani Film in 1950. At the age of around 72, AL Jerry died in Bombay on 8th January 1990. The first Konkani film ‘Mogacho Aunddo’, produced and directed by late AL Jerry Braganza was screened at Dasharata Cinema Hall, Mapusa, Goa on 24th April 1950.

24th April is commemorated as Konkani Cinema Day in Goa. On this occasion a special cover was released in honour of the father of Konkani Cinema Shri AL Jerry Braganza at a function organized by the Dalgado Konkani Akademi (DKA), held at Hanuman Theatre, Mapusa, Goa on 24th April 2015. Special cover was released jointly by Dy. Chief Minister of Goa Shri Fr/ancis D'Souza and Postmaster General, Goa Region, Shri Charles Lobo. (Special Cover approval no. MH/18/2015). The special cover is sponsored by Dalgado Konkani Akademi to commemorate the 65th Anniversary of the first Konkani film.

Special Cover on AL Jerry Braganza, father of Konkani Cinema

Special Cover on AL Jerry Braganza, father of Konkani Cinema

Courtesy: Kaushik Dessai, Goa | Prasad Barde, Goa

Special Cover on 10th Anniversary of Re-establishment of Shri Ahichhatra tirth – 23rd April 2015.

Ahichhatra was the ancient capital of Northern Panchala, a northern Indian kingdom mentioned in Mahabharata. The remains of this city have been discovered near Ramnagar village in Aonla tehsil of Bareilly district in Uttar Pradesh.

Shri Ahichhatra Parshvanath Atishaya Kshetra Digamber Jain Mandir is a center of religious consciousness and it is present in peaceful area surrounded by natural beauty. About 2800 years ago Bhagwan Parshvanath attained ‘Keval Gyan’ here through deep ‘Tapashcharan’.

On the occasion of grand celebration of 10th anniversary of re-establishment of Shri Ahichhatra Tirth, a special cover was released by U. P. Postal Circle on 23rd April 2015 at Ramnagar Kila (U.P.), (Special Cover approval no. UP/12/2015). Senior Jainism Philately Group member Shri Lalit Kumar Nahata of Delhi was instrumental in release of this cover.

Special Cover on 10th Anniversary of Re-establishment of Shri Ahichhatra tirth

Special Cover on 10th Anniversary of Re-establishment of Shri Ahichhatra tirth

Courtesy: Sudhir Jain, Satna

Special Cover on Tercentenary Celebration of St George's Anglo-Indian School & Orphanage – 23rd April 2015.

St. George’s School and Orphanage began in 1715 under the aegis of St. Mary’s church in Fort St. George mainly to cater to the needs of poor, orphaned children. The school was then called the Civil Orphan Asylum with the wife of the Governor of Madras as its patron. It is one of the oldest schools in the world and the oldest in India now situated in Kilpauk, Shenoy Nagar, Chennai.

The school has red brick buildings on a land area of 85,000 sq. mtr., with a boarding house, dormitory, kitchen and play grounds. The school provides education to over 1500 children from nursery up to the +2 level. It has a library, NCC and a computer centre. There are 36 staff members led by the Head Master and the Correspondent. One could find names like Clive, Warren Hastings and Wellesley in its minutes’ book and Lord Pentland, the then Governor of Madras had even inaugurated the class rooms.

To mark the Tercentenary Celebration of St George's Anglo-Indian School & Orphanage a Special Cover was released on 23rd April 2015 at a function held at the St. George's School Campus, Chennai by Shri Mervin Alexander, Postmaster General, Chennai City Region. (Special Cover approval no. TN/09/2015)

Special Cover on Tercentenary Celebration of St George's Anglo-Indian School & Orphanage

Courtesy: Mahesh Parekh, Chennai

Commemorative Stamp on Old Seminary, Kottayam – 21st April 2015.

The Orthodox Theological Seminary, Kottayam, traditionally known as the "Padithaveedu" or "Old Seminary" was originally a place for priestly training and a centre of English education. It was founded in 1815 by Colonel John Monroe with the help of the priest-monk Ittoop Ramban to serve the then-unified Malankara Syrian Church, to invite CMS missionaries to teach theology. It is the first Orthodox Christian School of theology in Asia.

Old Seminary, KottayamStarting up as a centre to educate and mould-up clergies of the ancient St. Thomas Christians of India, it eventually became the cradle and headquarters of more than four Christian denominations of the Thomas Christians during the last 200 years as each of them carefully glance back. The Seminary is today, the seat of highest Orthodox Theological learning and ecumenical dealings in India. The Old Seminary is a living witness and forum of actions for many great events that took place in and around Kottayam in Central Kerala during the last 200 years.

To commemorate bicentennial of Old Seminary, Kottayam commemorative stamp was released by President Shri Pranab Mukherjee at a function held at Rashtrapati Bhavan, New Delhi on 21st April 2015.

Commemorative Stamp on Old Seminary, Kottayam

Photo Courtesy: PIB

Special Cover on 100th Birth Centenary of Dr. Jack de Sequeira – 20th April 2015.

Joao Hugo Eduardo de Sequeira (b. 20 April 1915 – d. 17 October 1989), popularly known as Dr. Jack de Sequeira; also known as Jak Siker according to local naming conventions, was a prominent Goan politician and is popularly known in Goa as the Father of the Opinion Poll. Dr. Sequeira born in Burma – now Myanmar, was the founder president of the United Goans Party established after the Liberation of Goa from the Portuguese colonial regime. He played a pivotal role in both, the assembly of the then Union Territory of Goa, Daman and Diu as the leader of the opposition, and in convincing the government of India to hold an Opinion Poll for deciding the issue of the merger of Goa into the state of Maharashtra.

A special cover was released on the occasion of 100th Birth Centenary of Dr. Jack de Sequeira on 20th April 2015 at Santa Cruz, Goa (Special Cover approval no. MH/17/2015). The special cover was sponsored by Konkani Kala Kendra, Merces-Goa.

Special Cover on 100th Birth Centenary of Dr. Jack de Sequeira

Special Cover on 100th Birth Centenary of Dr. Jack de Sequeira

Courtesy: Prasad Barde, Goa

Special Cover on Celebration of Civil Services Day – 20th April 2015.

Every year, on the 21st of April, the "Civil Service Day" is observed by all Civil Services to re-dedicate and re-commit themselves to the cause of the people. It provides a unique opportunity for introspection as also chalking out future strategies to deal with the challenges being posed by the changing times. On this occasion, all officers of Central and State Governments are honoured for excellence in public administration by the Prime Minister of India. The 'Prime Minister Award for Excellence in Public Administration' is presented in three categories. Under this scheme of awards instituted in 2006, all the officers individually or as group or as organization are eligible.

A Special Cover was released to mark celebration of Civil Service Day on 20th April 2015 at Mumbai. (Special Cover approval no. MH/16/2015)

Special Cover on Celebration of Civil Services Day

Courtesy: Viswas Menon, Madikeri

Special Cover on 175th Anniversary of St. Paul's Church, Bangalore - 19th April 2015.

St. Paul's Church located next to the Bowring and Lady Curzon Hospital, Bangalore Cantonment has the distinction of being the very first Tamil Anglican Church in the erstwhile Mysore State. The church was consecrated on 31st March 1840 by the Lord Bishop of Madras, the Rev. George Trevor Spencer, with Rev. S. J. Joshua (SPG) as its first parish priest. Since then the Church is rendering service to the people and imparting knowledge through education to poor masses.

To commemorate 175th anniversary of St. Paul's Church, Bangalore, a Special Cover was released on 19th April 2015. (Special Cover approval no. KTK/38/2015)

Special Cover on 175th Anniversary of St. Paul's Church, Bangalore

Courtesy: Sushil Mehra, Bangalore

Commemorative Stamp on Patna High Court – 18th April 2015.

Patna High Court was established on 3rd February, 1916 and later affiliated under the Government of India Act 1915. The foundation stone of the existing high court building was laid on 1st December, 1913, by the then Viceroy of India, Lord Charles Hardine. After the building was formally opened by Lord Hardine on 3rd February, 1916, the court started functioning with a chief justice and six judges. Sir Edward Maynard Des Champs Chamier was the first chief justice of the Patna High Court. India's first president Rajendra Prasad and the first president of the constituent assembly, Sachchidanand Sinha, also had practiced at the court.

Commemorative Stamp on Patna High CourtPresident of India Shri Pranab Mukherjee inaugurated the centenary celebration of Patna High Court on 18th April 2015 at Patna. To mark the occasion a commemorative stamp on Patna High Court was released by President in presence of the Governor of Bihar, Shri Keshari Nath Tripathi, the Union Minister for Communications & Information Technology, Shri Ravi Shankar Prasad, the Union Minister for Law & Justice, Shri D.V. Sadananda Gowda, the Chief Minister of Bihar, Shri Nitish Kumar and the Chief Justice of India, Shri H.L. Dattu.

President of India Shri Pranab Mukherjee released stamp on Patna High Court

Photo Courtesy: PIB

Special Cancellation on 100 years of Mahatma Gandhi’s first visit to Madras - 17th April 2015.

Mahatma Gandhi had arrived in Madras (now Chennai) on 17th April, 1915, along with his wife, Kasturba. The couple stayed at 60, Thambu Chetty Street (George Town), the residence of G. A. Natesan, the nationalist publisher. He was to stay in Chennai (Madras) for three weeks before setting out for Ahmedabad on 8th May. It was his first visit to Madras.

To commemorate 100 years of Gandhi’s first visit to Madras, a special cancellation was issued at Chennai GPO on 17th April 2015. Mr. Mervin Alexander, Postmaster General, Chennai City Region, released the Special Cancellation in presence of Dr. S. Pandian, Secretary, Gandhi Study Centre, Chennai, Shri R. Narayanan Natesan, Mrs. Shyamala Ejji and Shri Balakrishna Das, President, South India Philatelists Association and Shri Anup Kumar Goyal.

A commemorative cover was released in association with Shri Anup Kumar Goyal depicting image of Mahatam Gandhi, woven on Kancheepuram Silk which has relevance to Madras. The image of Madras Station in 1915 has been embossed on the back side of the cover. The insert in the cover is printed with day wise details of the programme of Mahatma Gandhi during his fortnight long visit.

Special Cancellation on 100 Years of Gandhi’s First visit to Madras

Special Cancellation on 100 Years of Gandhi’s First visit to Madras

Courtesy: Anup Kumar Goyal, Chennai

Special Cover on National Fire Service Day – 14th April 2015.

The National Fire Service Day was observed in Goa on 14th April 2015, to pay homage to Firemen Martyrs who have sacrificed their lives during the course of duty, followed by a Fire Prevention Week from 14th to 20th April 2015 to raise the public Fire Safety Awareness. The theme for the year 2015 is; To Prevent Fire: “Adopt Safe Housekeeping Practices & Approved Electrical Appliances”.

On the occasion a special cover was released to commemorate the brave fireman martyrs in the line of duty by Shri Laxmikant Parsekar, Hon. Chief Minister of Goa in presence of Shri Charles Lobo, Postmaster General, Goa Region, Shri R. K. Shrivastav, Chief Secretary of Goa, Shri D. P. Dwivedi, Secretary of Education, Shri Ashok Menon, Director of Fire & Emergencies Services and Shri Sidharth Kunkalienkar, MLA of Panaji Costituency on 14th April 2015 at Panaji.

Special Cover on National Fire Service Day

Special Cover on National Fire Service Day

Courtesy: Prasad Barde, Goa

Special Cover on 160 years of Railways in Eastern India – 10th April 2015.

The first train in India travelled from Bombay to Thane on 16th April, 1853. Historic journey of Railways in Eastern India began with first train travelling from Howrah to Hooghly on 15th August, 1854. Today Eastern Railway has emerged as the backbone of passenger traffic and provides indispensable infrastructural support for the economic development of the nation as a whole. Presently, Eastern Railway carries 33 lakh passengers every day by running 1926 trains daily.

As a part of 60th Rail Week and 160th anniversary celebrations of railways in Eastern India, a Special Cover was released jointly by Ms. Arundhaty Ghosh, Chief Postmaster General, West Bengal Circle and Shri R. K. Gupta, General Manager of Eastern Railways at Kolkata on 10th April 2015 (Special Cover approval no. WB/04/2015).

Philatelic exhibition on Railways was also organised at Victoria Memorial Hall to mark the occasion. It was jointly inaugurated by Shri R. K. Gupta and Ms. Arundhaty Ghosh. Philatelic exhibition was curated by well known philatelist Mohd. Mujibullah of Kolkata and a staff member of Eastern Railway. The exhibition will remain open for public viewing from 10.00 a.m. to 5.00 p.m. till Thursday, 16th April, 2015.

Special Cover on 160 years of Railways in Eastern India

Cover Courtesy: Ashwani Kumar Dubey, Gorakhpur

Special Cover on ‘Homer Pigeon Mail’ to flag off 150th Anniversary Celebration of Cuttack Club - 2nd April, 2015.

Cuttack Club was established on 2nd April 1865 at Cuttuck. It is located at Barabati Fort, Buxi Bazar. Club is spread over four acres land and have about 1260 members. Cuttack Club is affiliated with more than 160 different clubs.

On the occasion of 150th Anniversary celebration of Cuttack Club a Special Cover was released on ‘Homer Pigeon Mail’ at Cuttack on 2nd April 2015.

Special Cover on release of ‘Homer Pigeon Mail’ to flag off 150th Anniversary Celebration of Cuttack Club

Special Cover on BOSCON 2015, the Annual Conference of Bangalore Orthopaedic Society - 28th March 2015.

The Bangalore Orthopaedic Society is a professional association for Orthopaedic and Trauma Surgeons in Bangalore and for those who are outside Bangalore, but continue to show interest in the affairs of the Association. Apart from academics, its traditional focus is on research and on promotion of the highest clinical and ethical standards.

The Bangalore Orthopaedic Society organized BOSCON 2015, the Annual Conference from 27th to 29th March 2015 at NIMHANS Convention Center, Bangalore. On the occasion a Special Cover was released by Karnataka Postal Circle (Special Cover approval no. KTK/35/2015) on 28th March 2015.

Special Cover on BOSCON 2015, the Annual Conference of Bangalore Orthopaedic Society

Courtesy: Suresh Rao, Bengaluru

Commemorative Stamps on India - France: 50 Years of Space Co-operation – 10th April 2015.

France and India view each other as important partners in space technology and applications. Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and its French counterpart Centre National d’Etudes Spatiales (CNES) have a rich history of cooperation and collaboration spanning about five decades.

The first French-Indian space cooperation agreement was signed in May 1964 covered licenses to build Belier and Centaure sounding rockets in India, with the accompanying transfer of solid-propulsion technologies. The latest bilateral meeting between the chief of space agencies of France and India was held on 21st November 2014 at Bangalore.

To celebrate 50 years of space cooperation between CNES and ISRO, India Post and La Poste, France have issued a set of two commemorative stamps the SARAL/AltiKa and Megha-Tropiques satellites. Joint issue of set of two stamps was released by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi and French President Francois Hollande on 10th April 2015 at the Elysee Palace, Paris.

To mark the event, a temporary post office was opened for selling stamps and first day covers to the public at CNES’s head office in Paris Les Halles from 5.00 to 7.30 p.m. Indian stamps are in denomination of Rs. 5 (Satellite Megha-Tropiques) and Rs. 25 (Satellite Saral) where as French stamps are in denomination of € 0.76 (Satellite Saral) and 1.20 € (Satellite Megha-Tropiques).

Commemorative Stamp on India – France: 50 Years of Space Co-operation

Commemorative Stamp on India – France: 50 Years of Space Co-operation

India – France: 50 Years of Space Co-operation
India – France: 50 Years of Space Co-operation
India – France: 50 Years of Space Co-operation
India – France: 50 Years of Space Co-operation

Commemorative Stamps on India - France: 50 Years of Space Co-operation - Miniature Sheet

A miniature sheet is also issued by India Post. For the first time QR code has been incorporated on Indian Miniature Sheet. While scanning the QR code using QR Code reader one can read following text:

“India and France have cooperated in space exploration for fifty years now. The Cooperation is best illustrated by two missions that were developed and operated in partnership: a tropical atmosphere observation satellite, Megha-Tropiques, launched in 2011, and Saral- Altika, oceanography and localization satellite, launched in 2013. These missions aim to observe climatic phenomena in order to understand the mechanisms and anticipate their consequences on a planetary level.”

Megha-Tropiques is a satellite mission to study the water cycle in the tropical atmosphere in the context of climate change. A collaborative effort between Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and French Centre National d’Etudes Spatiales (CNES), Megha-Tropiques was successfully deployed into orbit by a PSLV rocket in October 2011.

SARAL or Satellite with ARgos and ALtiKa is a cooperative altimetry technology mission of Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and CNES (Space Agency of France). The ISRO built satellite with payloads modules (ALTIKA altimeter), DORIS, Laser Retro-reflector Array (LRA) and ARGOS-3 (Advanced Research and Global Observation Satellite) data collection system provided by CNES was launched by Indian Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle rocket into the Sun-synchronous orbit (SSO). ISRO is responsible for the platform, launch, and operations of the spacecraft. A CNES/ISRO MOU (Memorandum of Understanding) on the SARAL mission was signed on Feb. 23, 2007. SARAL was successfully launched on 25 February 2013.

MS Image Courtesy: Mansoor Bolar, Mangalore

Special Cover on Golden Chariot - 2nd April 2015.

Shri Ravi Shankar Prasad, the Hon'ble Minister of Communications & IT, Govt. of India released a special cover on Golden Chariot at the function held at Meghdoot Auditorium, Bengaluru GPO on 2nd April 2015 in the eminent presence of Shri R. V. Deshpande, Hon’ble Minister of Higher Education and Tourism, Govt of Karnataka, Shri P.C. Mohan, Hon’ble Member of Parliament, Bengaluru Central, Shri Arvind Jadhav IAS, Addl. Chief secretary Govt of Karnataka, Ms. Ratna Prabha IAS, Addl. Chief Secretary Govt of Karnataka and Shri Ramanujam, Chief Postmaster General, Karnataka Postal Circle (Special Cover approval no. KTK/37/2015). This Special Cover has been brought out by Karnataka Postal Circle in coordination with the Department of Tourism, Govt., of Karnataka.

The Golden Chariot is a luxury tourist train that connects the important tourist spots in the Indian states of Karnataka, Goa, Kerala & Tamil Nadu as well as Pondicherry, depending on the selected itinerary. It is named after the Stone Chariot in the Vitthala Temple at Hampi. The only luxury train in South India, "Golden Chariot" offers an insight into treasure trove of archaeological wealth, abundant bounty for wildlife seekers and a kaleidoscope of culture for its esteemed guests. It offers a mix of heritage, culture, eco-tourism and beach life. Recline & relax as the magnificent scenery unfolds outside your window with luxury on the inside, thus far reserved for royalty.

The Golden Chariot Train is now operating on two different 7 Nights circuits of South India, both tours departing from Bangalore on alternate Mondays viz. Pride of South & Southern Splendour. Highlights of "Pride of South" train tour circuit includes visit to Mysore Palace, Kabini Tiger Reserve, UNESCO World Heritage Site of Hampi Palace ruins, Golden Beaches of Goa & UNESCO World Heritage Site of Badami Cave sculptures. Highlights of "Southern Splendour" train tour circuit includes visit to former French Colony of Pondicherry, Beaches & Backwaters of Kerala, besides UNESCO World Heritage site of Brihadeeswara Temple.

Special Cover on Golden Chariot

Special Cover on Golden Chariot

Shri Ravi Shankar Prasad, Hon'ble Minister for Communications & IT, Govt of India, also inaugurated the first ATM commissioned at Bengaluru GPO, the Circle Processing Centre (CBS) and Expanded Post Shoppe and Parcel Packing Centre and unveiled foundation stone for Automated Mail Processing Centre at Bengaluru GPO on 2nd April 2015. He also dedicated Yelahanka e-Commerce Business Centre through video conferencing at Bengaluru GPO and announced "Metro e-Commerce same day delivery service" scheduled to be launched in Bengaluru from 6th April 2015.

Special Cover on Golden Chariot

Courtesy: Suresh Rao, Bengaluru

Special Cover on Lathmar Holi – 1st April 2015.

Holi, popularly known as the festival of colors is one of the most ancient festivals in India. It was originally named as 'Holika’. It is celebrated in most of the parts of the country. It is a spring festival of fun, frolic and friendships and the celebrations of Holi are full of immense zeal and fervor. On the night previous to Holi, Holika dahan (bonfire) is done and people dance and sing songs commemorating the event.

Holi is also one of the most popular Indian festivals abroad. Apart from the typical Holi celebration, each region has its own share of rituals. One such interesting ritual is found in the neighboring villages of Barsana and Nandaon near Mathura in Uttar Pradesh. This way of celebration is known as ‘Lathmar Holi’ which literally translates to “hitting with lathi (staff)”.

Barsana was the birth place of Lord Krishna’s beloved Radha. It is said that Lord Krishna being dark in complexion and Radha being fair, Lord Krishna applied color to her face. Thus began the festival of colors. Legend has it that one day Lord Krishna was playfully teasing Radha and her friend gopis. The women of Barsana took offence and chased Lord Krishna and his friends away by running after them with lathis.

Since then, the tradition is being followed in Barsana where men come from the neighboring town of Nandgaon to apply color to women of Barsana and are chased away. They are equipped with shields for protection. Barasana has the distinction of having the only temple dedicated to Radha in India. The next day men from Barsana go to Nandgaon to drench the women of Nandgaon with kesudo (orange colored flowers that leave their color in water) water and palaash.

A Special cover on Lathmar Holi was released on 1st April 2015 during two days district level philatelic exhibition held at Mathura (Special Cover approval no. UP/11/2015)

Special Cover on Lathmar Holi

Courtesy: Sandeep Chaurasia, Gorakhpur

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